Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Dalai Lama is APU Person of the Year

His Holiness the Dalai Lama is's Person of the Year for 2008.

Among the other contenders were Bangladesh's new Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina who was reelected after being ousted and briefly imprisoned on corruption charges in 2001. Hasina is the daughter of the country's founding leader Shiekh Mujibur Rehman. The charges against Hasina have been "frozen" but not dismissed.

Another in close contention was Thailand's ousted leader T haksin Shinawatra, who from exile abroad has managed to maintain influence in the country. Although Thaksin's party was recently booted from leadership by Thailand's courts, his supporters have turned the tables around the opposition. Using the same tactics as the latter, Thaksin supporters have taken to the streets attemtping to disrupt particularly the workings of the new parliamentary leadership.

The Dalai Lama though was judged as the person from the Asia Pacific region that most dominated the news headlines. The spiritual head of the Tibetan people, who fled Tibet in 1959, fell ill a few times this year causing worries among his people and other supporters. He was hospitalized for awhile and forced to cancel some engagements.

However, the Dalai Lama still had a year that most people would have considered very busy with his schedule taking him to a host of countries. The holding of the 2008 Beijing Olympics focused the spotlight a bit more than usual on the leader as Tibetans held many protests in the leadup to the games. China opened up a dialogue with Tibetan representatives as the event approached, but many viewed the overture as a propaganda tactic by Beijing.

The Dalai Lama reiterated his position repeatedly this year that he was seeking only autonomy and not independence for Tibet.

In December, the Dalai Lama met with French president and current European Union chief Nicolas Sarkozy, a move that sparked outrage in China. Beijing said the move could hurt trade relations between China and France. The Tibetan leader also addressed the European Parliament in Brussels, something that would have been unthinkable not too long ago.

"When China becomes more democratic, with freedom of speech, with rule of law and particularly with freedom of the press ... once China becomes an open, modern society, then the Tibet issue, I think within a few days, can be solved," the Dalai Lama said during the address.

He also said that Tibetan culture could help China solve some of its problems with corruption. Noting that modern Chinese are always thinking of "money, money, money," he said: "The best way to counter corruption is self discipline, so therefore Tibetan cultural heritage certainly can help immensely many Chinese -- already I think a few hundred thousand Chinese -- I think nearly a million already following Tibetan Buddhism."

The Dalai Lama was born Lhamo Thondup and was chosen for his office in 1937 after four years of searching in the traditional Tibetan manner. He has ruled the Central Tibetan Administration, a government in exile, since 1959 from the town of Dharamsala in northern India. He is closely associated with the Gelugpa school of Tibetan Buddhism although the official leader of the group is the Ganden Tripa.

In his most recent official statement, the Dalai Lama praised actions within China on the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He called for the release of prisoners of conscience like Hu Jia:

I am greatly encouraged by the launching of a Charter ’08 by academics, artists, farmers and lawyers in China on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Their call for political, legal and constitutional reform is admirable.

I personally believe that President Hu Jintao’s call for a harmonious society is a laudable initiative that can provide space to the viewpoints being expressed by a growing number of Chinese people. A harmonious society can only come into being when there is trust among the people, freedom from fear, freedom of expression, rule of law, justice and equality.

I would like to urge the Chinese leadership to consider making efforts to bring about unity and stability in a civilized way.

I would also like to take this opportunity to call upon the government of the People’s Republic of China to release prisoners of conscience, including Hu Jia, who have been detained for exercising their freedom of expression.

At age 73, the Dalai Lama continued to travel the world in 2008 despite health difficulties and captured headlines as he tirelessly campaigned for his people. He has long been a fixture on the world stage, and this year was one of his most prominent in recent memory.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hasina returns to office in big win

Former Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the first woman to lead this predominantly Muslim nation, will return to power after a stunning win by her party, officials said.

Her Awami League party took 255 of 300 seats in the Bangladesh Parliament. Hasina was stripped of office on corruption of charges in 2001 and temporarily arrested. Charges against her have been "frozen" but not dropped.

Hasina posts landslide Bangladesh win
United Press International - 1 hour ago
DHAKA, Bangladesh, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- Former Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will return to power after her party posted a landslide win in national elections, officials said.
Secular Party Wins Landslide Vote in Bangladesh New York Times
Profile of Bangladesh's new leader International Herald Tribune

Friday, December 26, 2008

Pakistan deploys new troops near Indian border

Pakistan is moving troops from Taliban-infested regions near the Afghanistan border to its border region with India escalating tensions with New Delhi.

Intelligence sources say that the Pakistan army's 14th Division was being redeployed to the towns of Kasur and Sialkot, close to the Indian border. They said some 20,000 troops were on the move. Earlier Friday, a security official said that all troop leave had been canceled. The troops are being moved from the Waziristan area, a hotbed of insurgent activity, an action likely to draw the ire of NATO forces in Afghanistan. Western countries have clamored for Pakistan to focus more attention in this region to prevent cross-border attacks into Afghanistan.

Pakistan moves troops toward Indian border
The Associated Press - 32 minutes ago
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) - Pakistan began moving thousands of troops to the Indian border Friday, intelligence officials said, sharply raising tensions triggered by the Mumbai terror attacks.
Pakistan moves troops to Indian border Sydney Morning Herald
Pakistan puts troops on alert CNN International

Pakistan moves troops toward Indian border
The Associated Press - 32 minutes ago
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) - Pakistan began moving thousands of troops to the Indian border Friday, intelligence officials said, sharply raising tensions triggered by the Mumbai terror attacks.
Pakistan moves troops to Indian border Sydney Morning Herald
Pakistan puts troops on alert CNN International

Pakistan moves troops toward Indian border
The Associated Press - 32 minutes ago
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) - Pakistan began moving thousands of troops to the Indian border Friday, intelligence officials said, sharply raising tensions triggered by the Mumbai terror attacks.
Pakistan moves troops to Indian border Sydney Morning Herald
Pakistan puts troops on alert CNN International

Pakistan moves troops toward Indian border
The Associated Press - 32 minutes ago
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) - Pakistan began moving thousands of troops to the Indian border Friday, intelligence officials said, sharply raising tensions triggered by the Mumbai terror attacks.
Pakistan moves troops to Indian border Sydney Morning Herald
Pakistan puts troops on alert CNN International

Monday, December 22, 2008

Pakistan scrambles jets on India's threat

Just when it seemed things were quieting down between India and Pakistan following the Mumbai attacks, tensions have again erupted with Pakistan scrambling intercepters over its major cities on Monday.

Pakistan's action came as a response to a statement by India's Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee that his country was keeping all options open including possible "precision strikes" on terrorist training camps within Pakistan.

Pakistani Jets Scramble as India Hardens Tone
Washington Post - 1 hour ago
By Rama Lakshmi NEW DELHI, Dec. 22 -- In signs of growing regional tension since the Mumbai attacks last month, Pakistan scrambled fighter jets over several of its larger cities Monday, and India's foreign minister told a gathering of Indian diplomats ...
India Gives Pakistan Letter Said to Be Gunman’s New York Times
Mullen In Pakistan As Tension With India Escalates AHN
Video: Mumbai quick to reopen attacked hotels - 21 Dec 08 AlJazeeraEnglish
India threatens Pakistan as Mumbai hotels reopen

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Terrorized Mumbai hotel reopens

Mumbai is gradually returning to normal after the terrorist attacks last month. Parts of the Taj Mahal and Trident hotels have opened up for business again.

Some parts of these hotels though will take months to restore.

The Leopold Cafe, a favorite among foreigners, reopened weeks ago and is slowly recovering its old clientele.

USA Today

Return to Mumbai - 36 minutes ago
By Todd Baer in Mumbai For nearly one month, Mumbai has been a city with a deep and painful wound, as people tried to recover from a series of brazen and particularly personal attacks on its most famous landmarks.
Video: Mumbai hotel reopens -21 Dec 08 AlJazeeraEnglish
Targeted Mumbai hotels open with tighter security The Associated Press

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Mumbai terrorists more tech-savvy than police

The attackers who terrorized Mumbai were more sophisticated than the city's police forces according to security experts.

Attackers had studied satellite maps and were equipped with global positioning devices, and both voice-over-internet and satellite phones.

Indian police were unable to track either the satellite or internet communications of the attackers. Also, the Mumbai terrorists had night vision googles, which not only the police but even the National Security Guard commandos from Delhi lacked.

Video: Riz Khan - Mumbai's terror probe - Dec 10 - Part 1 AlJazeeraEnglish


Pakistan downplays ‘incursions’ by Indian aircraft
Taipei Times - 31 minutes ago
Pakistan downplayed alleged Indian violations of its airspace, suggesting yesterday that the breaches were “inadvertent” and “technical” in an apparent bid to avoid worsening tensions following the Mumbai attacks last month.
Pakistan downplays airspace breach by Indian jet fighters (Roundup) Monsters and
Pakistan airspace violations 'inadvertant' United Press International

Monday, December 08, 2008

Jim Rogers on rise of China

Economist and investor Jim Rogers speaks in the Netherlands about the economic rise of China.

He thinks it's possible that China's markets have bottomed, but whatever the case, he sees the Chinese as among the world's best capitalists, if not the best, despite being a communist country. Rogers is teaching his daughters Chinese and lives in Singapore.

Personally, while I think China may indeed be the most important single economic power in the future, we will see a trend were regions rather than nations set the trends. Thus blocks like the Asian Union, European Union, etc. will be important to watch.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Dalai Lama to meet Nicolas Sarkozy in EU

The Dalai Lama will meet with France's President Nicolas Sarkozy in Poland amidst protests from China.

France holds the presidency of the European Union and Sarkozy is in Poland to meet with Eastern European members of the EU on climate change goals.

Beijing canceled an EU-China meeting last week and has threatened to cut multi-billion-dollar bilateral trade deals. Groups in China have also called for boycotts of French products. The Dalai Lama has called for "genuine autonomy" for Tibet and insists he is not a "separatist." He advocates "strictly non-violent methods" in his campaign.

Sarkozy would be the first leader to meet with the Dalai Lama while holding the EU's rotating six-month term as president.

Dalai Lama to meet Sarkozy in EU
BBC News - 1 hour ago
French President Nicolas Sarkozy is to meet the Dalai Lama in Poland, in a move that has angered Beijing. China has warned France that multi-billion-dollar bilateral trade deals could be harmed if the meeting with the Tibetan spiritual leader goes ...
Sarkozy set to meet Dalai Lama
France's Sarkozy meets Dalai Lama as China fumes Sydney Morning Herald

Friday, December 05, 2008

India and Russia ink nuclear deal

After cementing an agreement with the United States for nuclear reactors earlier this year, India signed a nuclear pact with Russia for four new nuclear power plants.

Russia has built reactors for India in the past and is the main supplier of high tech weaponry for India's armed forces. The two signed a deal for 80 military helicopters and for more work on nuclear-powered submarines.

India is a massive country experiencing rapid growth but has few petroleum resources. However, India has major uranium and thorium reserves and is pursuing nuclear power to meet its energy needs.

Chandigarh Tribune

India: Nuclear Deal With Russia
New York Times - 2 hours ago
By REUTERS President Dmitri A. Medvedev signed agreements Friday to develop new nuclear plants in India. India had earlier signed a nuclear pact with the United States.
Video: Russia and India strike nuclear deal RussiaToday
India-Russia nuclear deal signed BBC News

Thursday, December 04, 2008

China, India ask Obama for more on climate change

Delegates from China and India at the Poznan forum on climate change have called on President-elect Barack Obama to pledge even deeper emissions cuts to tackle climate change.

“The current climate-change issue was caused by the excessive emissions by the industrialized nations in the process over 200 years of industrialization,” Su Wei, China's lead negotiator said. “They should bear the responsibility to address that problem.” Su said that Obama's promise to reduce U.S. greenhouse emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 is "not ambitious enough."

Obama's goals would fall under the limits set by the Kyoto Protocol for 2012, and well under the European Union pledge of a 20 percent cut by 2020.

Seattle Post Intelligencer

China, India Want More Commitment From Obama on Climate Change
Bloomberg - 5 hours ago
By Alex Morales Dec. 4 (Bloomberg) -- China and India, the developing nations with the highest carbon-dioxide emissions, want US President- elect Barack Obama to demonstrate more commitment in tackling climate change, delegates at United Nations talks ...
The young are the key to fighting climate change
US to leave door open on climate for Obama: officials AFP
An environmentalist from Oxfam protests in front of the buildings where the UN climate change conference is being held in Poznan December 4, 2008. Oxfam is demanding global action by rich countries to combat climate change. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel (POLAND)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

India investigates attacks as Taj cleared of threats

Indian security agencies began to unravel details of the Mumbai attacks on Saturday as commandos and police continued to sanitize the locations held by terrorists.

The death toll has risen to 183, not including 11 attackers, but could rise significantly as more bodies are discovered. According to reports, there was a stench in the Taj Mahal hotel apparently caused by decomposing bodies of those killed during the fighting.

Leaders of the security forces that battled the terrorists noted that the attackers were very well-trained and knew the locations well. Apparently some had come by sea while others had come earlier renting living quarters in Mumbai to prepare for the attack.

Intelligence officials are identifying clues that link the attack with al-Qaeda. For example, previous al-Qaeda attacks have also specifically requested the release of Muslim militants in Indian prisons.

Certain Indian and Pakistani terror groups linked closely with al-Qaeda have carried out frontal attacks with automatic weapons and grenades in India before although not on this scale. The specific targeting of Westerners and Israelis is a common al-Qaeda tactic but not seen in India before.

Also, the specific targeting of the orthodox Jewish Chabad House in Mumbai resembles an earlier plot by an Al-Qaeda affiliate group in Southeast Asia, Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) to attack the Chabad House in Bangkok, Thailand. There may even be a direct Southeast Asian connection as at least three of the militants pretending to be students carried Malaysian identity cards.

Mumbai attacks

Reaction to Mumbai attacks
Mumbai attacks: Al-Qaeda methods & ideology
ABS CBN News, Philippines - 3 hours ago
These are tactics used by Al-Qaeda in past terror attacks, honed and passed along in its training camps; Lashkar-e-Toiba has long been linked to Al-Qaeda. ...
Al-Qaeda wants Pak to divert army to Indian border: journo
Al Qaeda just one suspect in India terrorist attacks Los Angeles Times
Can al-Qaeda be Defeated? Times Online

Friday, November 28, 2008

Indian forces cleaning up terrorist pocket in Taj hotel

Indian commandos apparently routed the last terrorist holdouts in the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai on Saturday morning.

The National Security Group said that three terrorists had died after a fierce battle that ignited a raging fire on the ground floor of the hotel.

There are still sanitizing operations that must be completed room-to-room to rescue people stranded in the hotel, clearing munitions and assuring that no terrorists are hiding in the building.

Indian forces fight last gunmen in hotel
International Herald Tribune - 1 hour ago
AP MUMBAI, India: Indian forces targeted the landmark Taj Mahal hotel with grenades and gunfire Saturday morning as suspected Muslim militants made a last stand, just hours after elite commandos stormed a Jewish center and found six hostages dead.

Gunfire and explosions rock Mumbai hotel Reuters UK

To watch live coverage on CNN-IBN, click on the link below:

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Terrorists carry out coordinated attacks in Mumbai

There is a live terrorist attack going on in Mumbai that is still out of control. Reportedly involves multiple gangs carrying out coordinated attacks throughout the city and taking foreign hostages at 5-star hotels.

You can watch live on CNN-IBN at the link below:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thai protesters storm airport

Tensions in Thailand escalated as protesters swarmned the Bangkok airport after a clash with government supporters.

Opponents of the Thai prime minister Somchai Wongsawat who is seen as an extension of ousted leader Thaksin Shinawatra shot at Somchai supporters in the capital. They are attempting to force the military to bring down the government in the same way they ousted Thaksin.

Military leaders in Thailand often act independently of the elected government, but Army commander Gen. Anupong Paochinda has vowed repeatedly not to stage a coup.

Thai protesters prepare for "final battle"

Anti government protesters in front of the departure terminal at Suvarnabhumi airport, Bangkok in the early hours of Wednesday Nov. 26, 2008. Outbound flights at Suvarnabhumi International Airport were temporarily suspended at 9 p.m. Tuesday, authorities said, shortly before hundreds of demonstrators _ some masked and armed with metal rods _ broke through police lines and spilled into the passenger terminal. (AP Photo/Wason Wanichakorn)


Protesters swarm Thai airport, takeoffs suspended
The Associated Press - 1 hour ago
BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) - Protesters swarmed Thailand's main international airport Tuesday, forcing the cancellation of departing flights just hours after their comrades opened fire on government supporters in a clash on the streets of the capital.
Thais Warn of Flight Chaos as Protesters Storm Bangkok Airport Bloomberg
Protesters besiege airport in bid to oust Thai govt Reuters India

Sunday, November 23, 2008

APEC leaders vow to protect free trade

Nations of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum meeting in Lima, Peru Saturday agreed to protect free trade and to work on fixing the world economy .

Although no specific measures were agreed upon, the grouping did pledge to cooperate on free trade issues. Some members are concerned about whether incoming president Barack Obama might review the current trade policy especially focusing on the NAFTA pact.


APEC aims to restore confidence in world economy
Washington Post, United States - 28 minutes ago
On Saturday, APEC nations _ including those not represented at the Washington summit _ endorsed the conclusions of that meeting. Those included a pledge to ...

APEC Summit Wraps Up in Lima Voice of America
Apec leaders make free-trade vow BBC News

Thursday, November 20, 2008

iPhone set for China launch?

China Mobile is still in talks with Apple for the country's iPhone launch according to CEO Wang Jianzhou.

China, the world's largest mobile-services market with more than 600 million subscribers, still has not formally launched the iPhone.

3G (press release)

CEO says company still in talks with Apple for iPhone launch
MarketWatch - Nov 18, 2008
China, the world's largest mobile-services market with more than 600 million subscribers, is one of the few big markets in Asia where the iPhone is still ...
China Mobile Still in Talks With Apple Over IPhone PC World
Handset makers woo China MobileFierceWireless


Apple job ad may signal Chinese iPhone launch coming
Ars Technica, MA - Nov 14, 2008
On the other hand, the job description is also vague enough that it could just be related to iPhone and iPod touch product development for Asian markets. ...
Apple Job Posting Hints to Near-Term Release of iPhone in China O'Grady's Power Page
Apple lists job posting for iPhone position in China MacNN
Apple: Getting Ready For iPhone China Launch? Barron's Blogs

image unavailable
Sep 23, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

Comment: Why tax cuts won't solve economic crisis

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown today claimed world backing for the idea of tax cuts as a means of addressing the current economic turmoil.

However, tax cuts even if just for the middle class are unlikely to solve the current situation. Low taxes, especially on the rich, are instead one of the contributing factors to the current debacle.

Many nations of the world have followed the US lead on lowering taxes over the last few decades. Such low taxes generally did not mean also lower spending especially in America's case.

Lowering taxes on the wealthy to levels not seen since just before the Great Depression has contributed to the steep divide between the rich and poor, something that must be studied to understand the current problem.

Hoarded capital is not efficient

While it may sound "socialist," the concentration of such wealth in so few hands is not an efficient distribution of capital.

America faced a similar situation before the Wall Street crash of 1929. Taxes on the wealthy were only 25 percent. What actually lifted the country out of the Great Depression and into the strongest recovery in the nation's history was very high tax rates on the rich!

During World War II, the highest tier tax rates stood at 91 percent, and continued at no less than 88 percent until 1963 when they were lowered to 70 percent. This period represented the strongest boom period in American history.

Prior to the Depression, the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few led to many schemes to make the rich even richer. Generally, this is a great waste of resources.

In modern times, hedge funds and derivatives are examples of "fixed" securities designed to benefit the wealthy by allowing them to make more money, or at least 'paper money,' through risky, non-productive investments.

Rather than circulating this money to consumers, the hoarded money just gets tied up into these greedy schemes until they start collapsing on their own non-productive weight. In order to prevent this collapse, Wall St. calls on DC for greater debt spending and bailouts.

However, eventually things reach a crest. Credit can no longer keep up with demand as produced by this bubble system. A type of "peak credit" is reached similar to the predicted "peak oil" when resources begin to decline.

We can already see this happening now. Credit cards are cracking down and increasing rates and penalties. Many credit card companies are axing cards that are seen as going into "desperation mode" i.e., paying for groceries and other living expenses. Even large banks are having trouble borrowing money from other banks.

Now world governments are still trying to cover the corporate fat cats by deficit spending, but it will not be enough.

Just to save the banking system in the United States alone from complete collapse is thought by many economists to require at least US $2 trillion on top of what has already been allocated. And this is just to prevent a collapse much less get those institutions back into sound working order.

There are still as many bad mortgages out there as caused the current financial mess, and the current mortgages now seem to be put on the back burner. And its hard to find an analyst out there who does not think that the hedge fund market will eventually melt down.

Govt needs to circulate money into economic infrastructure

Let's face it, this is the government's job. That's partly what taxes are for.

Corporations do not build freeways, repair bridges, regulate the economy, etc.

Instead of sitting in hedge funds allowing billionaires to see their assets grow into shadow assets, capital must be recirculated into the economy through the instrument of government taxation. The money is funneled into programs that create jobs, improve business infrastructure, increase efficiency, etc.

As money flows into the hands of ordinary consumers, it is used more efficiently and productively, and the system flourishes with a more equitable distribution of resources.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Japan slips into recession

Tokyo announced Monday that Japan had entered into a recession -- it's first in seven years.

The country's economy contracted by 0.1 percent for the third quarter of the year.

"We are now looking for a severe recession, similar to that during Japan's own financial market crisis in 1997 to 1998, and to the current U.S. recession, in terms of depth of real GDP contraction," said Masamichi Adachi, senior economist at JPMorgan Securities in Tokyo, as quoted by the Associated Press.

CEP News

Japanese Recession Could Be Short-Lived, Economists Say, NY - 38 minutes ago
Nevertheless, Cohen said, "it doesn't have to be a very severe recession." Japan might be less vulnerable to the global downturn because at home, ...
Japan in recession as global crisis hits hard The Australian
INSTANT VIEW 4-Japan slips into recession, outlook grim Forbes
Japan enters recession in July to September quarter MarketWatch

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Japan offers $100 bn to IMF, calls on China

Japan has offered to lend the International Monetary Fund (IMF) $100 billion to help stabilize the world economy.

Japanese leader Taro Aso also called on China to contribute to the IMF. Both Japan and China depend on exports to propel their economies and they have an interest in stimulating consumption among their economic partners.

"It doesn't have to be Japan alone that would provide such funds," Aso said in an interview Friday with The Washington Post. "Oil-producing countries, China and other countries that have ample reserves could also make their contributions."


Japan's Leader Urges China to Contribute to IMF
FOXNews - 2 hours ago
Aso earlier announced that Japan was ready to lend up to $100 billion to the IMF. "It doesn't have to be Japan alone that would provide such funds," Aso ...
Japan Offers IMF $100 Billion to Fight Financial Crisis Voice of America
IMF head welcomes Japanese cash offer AFP
IMF Bailouts: Austerity Is The Answer?Newsweek

This IMF photo shows Japan's Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa (L) as he meets with International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn in Washington, DC on November 14, 2008. Japan on Friday announced a plan to lend up to 100 billion dollars to the International Monetary Fund to help provide financial lifelines to crisis-hit emerging countries, officials said.(AFP/IMF/File/Eugene Salazar)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Massive brown cloud costs Asia

A brown cloud of smoke, pollutants and other particles that is three kilometers deep and stretches from the Arabia to the Pacific Ocean is harming the region's health and agriculture, a UN agency says.

In this Feb. 6, 2007 satellite image from ...In this Feb. 6, 2007 satellite image from NASA, a band of brown haze appears to narrow somewhat as it crosses over South Korea, center, then spreads out over the Sea of Japan toward Japan, center right. Opaque white clouds mix with the haze, especially over the Yellow Sea and Japan. According to a report commissioned by the U.N. Environment Program and released Thursday, Nov. 13, 2008, a thick brown cloud of soot, particles and chemicals stretching from the Persian Gulf to Asia threatens health and food supplies in the world, (AP Photo/NASA)

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) claims that the cloud will damage hearts and lungs, and impair photosynthesis resulting in lower crop yields. The cloud will even hamper ability to monitor global warming.

Brown cloud 'costs lives and crops' - 15 hours ago
A brown cloud of soot and pollutants floating over Asia is killing thousands of people and damaging crops, the UN says. The environment programme (UNEP) reports that contamination from factories, fires, cars and deforestation contains particles that ...
Toxic Cloud Masks Warming Effects Wall Street Journal
UN Report Highlights Dangers Of 'Atmospheric Brown Clouds' RedOrbit

Monday, November 10, 2008

China announces $586 bn stimulus plan

China announced a US $586 billion economic stimulus plan Monday boosting stock markets around the world.

The new plan will help bolster manufacturing and is stabilizing commodity prices and strengthening confidence in countries that supply raw materials for manufactured goods.

Beijing will concentrate most of the money into new construction, which uses large quantities of commodities.

Japan recently announced a $277 billion stimulus plan, and US President-elect said that one of his first priorities upon taking office will be to implement a new stimulus package.

Sydney Morning Herald
China stimulus plan to bolster regional economies
Sydney Morning Herald, Australia - 3 hours ago
BEIJING'S mammoth economic rescue package will focus overwhelmingly on construction, raising hopes China can help to stabilise global commodity markets and ...
China's stimulus package to be felt worldwide
China Stimulus Plan Will Boost Stocks Sentiment (Update1) Bloomberg
$US586b Chinese stimulus package good news for NZ National Business Review

Boston Globe
Asian, European stocks surge on China stimulus plan
Business Standard, India - 3 hours ago
... 2008, 18:12 IST Asian and European stocks surged more than five per cent, as investors cheered China's mammoth $586 bn economic stimulus package, ...
European shares higher in early trading MarketWatch
European indexes seen up 2.9-3.6 pct -bookmakers Reuters UK

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Protests after 3 executed for Bali bombings

Protesters threatened revenge after the execution of three terrorists convicted in the Bali nightclub attack of 2002.

Indonesia has taken impressive steps since those bombings to clamp down on radical activity.

Times Online

Threats of revenge as 3 executed for Bali bombings
International Herald Tribune - 31 minutes ago
By Peter Gelling JAKARTA: Hours after the executions of three men for their roles in the Bali bombings of 2002, nearly a thousand Islamic radicals shouted "God is great" in Arabic and threatened revenge as the bodies of two of the men arrived in their ...
Video: Report: Bali Bombers Executed AssociatedPress
Supporters Gather for Funerals of Executed Bali Bombers Voice of America

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Bhutan crowns young king

The mountainous nation of Bhutan crowned a new king yesterday even as nation ushers in a new democratic form of government.

Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck was crowned as constitutional monarch two years after his father abdicated the throne and abolished absolute monarchy in the country. Parliamentary elections were held last March.

Khesar is Oxford-educated and known for his dashing good looks. He is there world's youngest monarch and has been described as one of Asia's "most eligible bachelors."

Bhutan's King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck sits in the ...
Thu Nov 6, 8:34 AM ET

Bhutan's King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck sits in the throne room during his coronation ceremony inside Tashichhodzong Palace in Thimphu November 6, 2008. With medieval tradition and Buddhist spirituality, a 28-year-old with an Oxford education assumed the Raven Crown of Bhutan on Thursday, to guide the world's newest democracy as it emerges into the modern world.

REUTERS/Desmond Boylan (BHUTAN)

BBC News

Coronation ceremony of world's youngest reigning monarch
Xinhua, China - 1 hour ago
The fifth king of Bhutan, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck (L) touches a man on his head at the coronation ceremony in Thimphu, Bhutan, Nov. 6, 2008. ...
Bhutan's new monarch
Profile: Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck BBC News
King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck of Bhutan TopNews